NAMI’s Role in Shaping Mental Health with Dr. Ken Duckworth: Ep. 31
- Episode Topic:
In this engaging episode of Mastering Counseling, Dr. Ken Duckworth, the Chief Medical Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), delves into his personal journey and profound connection to mental health issues. His extensive knowledge and the wisdom shared in his renowned book, “You Are Not Alone,” will be at the forefront of our conversation.
- Lessons You’ll Learn:
In this episode, we discuss the power of hope and resilience in mental Illness, highlighted in Dr. Ken Duckworth’s book “You Are Not Alone.” We also touch on improving access to mental health services through NAMI’s advocacy and Dr. Duckworth’s role in collaborations. NAMI’s research initiatives in mental health are also explored.
- About Our Guest:
Our guest, Dr. Ken Duckworth, is a double board-certified psychiatrist with a forensic psychiatry fellowship. As NAMI’s Chief Medical Officer, he ensures the organization stays updated on mental health developments. Dr. Ken Duckworth also hosts the “Ask the Expert” series, providing cutting-edge insights to NAMI’s volunteers and affiliates.
- Topics Covered:
Throughout the episode, we cover various topics, including Dr.Ken Duckworth’s passion for mental health, NAMI’s mission and resources, and simplifying complex psychological research. The discussion also addresses the impact of self-deception on mental health and practical strategies to combat it. Dr.Ken Duckworth shares insights on navigating tough relationship transitions and promoting change through honesty. Additionally, the episode touches on the future of counseling education, providing guidance for aspiring counselors.
Our Guest: Dr. Ken Duckworth – Chief Medical Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
In the dynamic world of mental health, Dr. Ken Duckworth, the Chief Medical Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), stands as a beacon of hope. His journey is characterized by a commitment to advocacy, highlighted by his impactful book “You Are Not Alone.”
He has dedicated his career to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. With extensive expertise in psychiatry, Dr. Ken Duckworth’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the mental health landscape.
As the Chief Medical Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Dr. Duckworth leads the charge in advocating for better mental health services and support. His authoritative presence at NAMI has allowed the organization to make significant strides in raising awareness and creating a community of hope for those facing mental health challenges.
Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Ken Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA
Dr. Ken Duckworth: Don’t go on channel five and tell your story if you’re not ready. Before people got into the book, I’d have a phone call with them and I’d say, do you understand that you’re using your full name and where you’re from? It’s not some composite fake name so that the doctor is the person with all the information. The truth is, we’ve all learned something along the way, and I just wanted to undercover the wisdom of real people. So again, I don’t encourage everybody had to. People say, oh my gosh, I have to use my name. And I said you have to use your name. It’s completely different book. The doctor doesn’t have all the answers. The answers are in all of us, right? It’s a radical book.
Becky Coplen: Welcome to Mastering Counseling, the weekly business show for counselors. I’m your host, Becky Copland. I’ve spent 20 years working in education in the role of both teacher and school counselor. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a counseling business owner. From interviews with successful entrepreneurial counselors to conversations with industry leaders on trends and the next generation of counseling services, to discussions with tech executives whose innovations are reshaping counseling services. If it impacts counseling, we cover it on mastering counseling. Welcome to another episode of Mastering Counseling, the podcast that uncovers the world of therapy, counseling, and the individuals who make a difference in the mental health landscape. I’m your host, Becky. Today, we are truly honored to have a distinguished guest with us, Dr. Ken Duckworth. He is the chief medical officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He’s not only a prominent expert in the field but also the author of an authoritative book called “You Are Not Alone”, providing essential guidance and hope to countless individuals and families. So, Dr. Duckworth, we are so thrilled to have you here today. Your book, You Are Not Alone, has been a beacon of hope for those seeking guidance on mental health. Could you share with us the inspiration behind this book and how is it making a difference in people’s lives?
Dr. Ken Duckworth: Well, first of all, Becky, thank you for having me. So the idea of the book is I’ve been sitting on this idea for 15 years talking to real people who use their names because, of course, shame and isolation are so common in this experience. And I found that my dad had very bad bipolar disorder and was a very loving person. And when he got transferred from Philadelphia to the fair state of Michigan, nobody talked about it. And I’m eight years old in this U-Haul and I’m thinking, does this have anything to do with the police being at the door? Because our family was from Philadelphia, our relatives are in Philadelphia. We didn’t know one person in the state of Michigan. So to me, I’ve been trying to ask this question, how do you reduce shame and isolation? And so I became a psychiatrist, even though I wasn’t a stem whiz. And I thought I’m just going to do this and make sense of whatever this is. And so I get to the top of the academic mountain here in Boston at Harvard, and I’m like, nobody’s asked real people still what they have learned. And this was the book I wanted to write. It’s the only book I want to write, Becky. I’m a one-hit wonder, and I really wanted to do Kind of Humans of New York. Or if you’re older, Studs Terkel meets mental health. And so I talk to people and what their dogs meant to them, what a peer specialist meant to them, how they learned something in a group that made a difference, how families learn to communicate, how families learn to navigate. And in addition to interviewing 130 people from 38 states across the nation, different races, ethnicities, religions, CEOs, people who’ve been incarcerated, physicians, carpenters.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: I mean, I talk to America about mental health and addiction, and it was a great privilege. This is the thing that I thought was missing and could have helped me in my family. And my dad might have read this book when no one was around because there’s people with bipolar disorder just like him, who are struggling to reassemble a life, to deal with the shame, who’ve lost a job, who try to put things together. So I think the book offers hope, and I think that’s why it was a USA Today bestseller. NAMI is the largest mental health group in the world. They don’t advertise that. They say the largest mental health group of people with lived experience and family members in America. But if you look around the world, I get emails all every week. Hi, can you start a NAMI group in Spain? We don’t have anything like that. So to me, we’re a big team. I felt like NAMI should have a book. I gave them the copyright. All the royalties go to NAMI. Don’t make any money from any sales of the book. This is a little love gift from me. So that was the idea of the book to be practical and helpful and that someone just like you, living with schizophrenia, hearing voices every day, loving somebody with opiate addiction, how do they what has helped them? That was the project. It was a great adventure. It was a good Covid project. And COVID made it possible because COVID made mental health a we thing, not a they thing. So I sat on this idea for 15 or so years and when Covid happened, I’m like, okay, this is the time, this is it. Let’s go.
Becky Coplen: That’s amazing. I love the personal end of it. And when I was looking at some of your websites right at the top, you share about your dad in the beginning. So I think that makes everyone so interested. And I love how the timing of it and how it was just a nationwide project.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: So much easier to interview somebody from Hawaii who talks about the fusion of Eastern and Western ideas about mental health conditions than to fly to Hawaii. So did this all by Zoom. This enabled me to get people’s quotes, and I would send them to them and I’d say, Kumi, is this quote accurate for you? You’ve had five generations of depression. This is a different person in Tennessee. This is what you said to me. Is this accurate? Do you want this attached to your name? So Covid actually was a kind of blessing in that it made mental health something that publishers wanted to talk about. So five people bid on my rookie effort, which is just one of a kind. Unbelievable, given that I know nobody, nobody in my family has written a book like this is just not a thing. But I had one idea and I’m like, why hasn’t anybody asked? Real people would help them. And so that was the goal of the book. And so of course, my dad is my inspiration for the entire thing. And I undoubtedly be teaching history and listening to people and doing storytelling in ninth grade somewhere. Right? If this hadn’t visited my life, that’s my inspiration. And it turns out you can go to medical school even if you can’t do calculus. Becky, there are 11 medical schools at the time that did not require calculus, and I got into nine of them. So there’s a place for all of us, and nobody’s ever asked me for a differential equation in the office. Not one time, because if they did, I’d have to send them out. I’m like, that’s not a thing.
Becky Coplen: I have heard that from a few people we’ve interviewed about multiple failures or afraid of trying something. So thank you. Just especially for people who are thinking about this field and could be afraid of math as many are. The only thing I would argue about is Hawaii might be the one place you should fly to. Oh sure.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: I went to Alaska. Hawaii seven stops in California. It’s been a great experience. I’ve talked to real people there on the panel with me everywhere I go. Kumi, why did you want to be in the book? What did you learn in your experience that you wanted to be a teacher to others? This is the cool thing Becky. People can feel somewhat small victimized when they get a mental health condition or an addiction. And the idea is you could be a teacher, you might have something to offer someone else is quite something. Like when you talk to people, they’re like, this was really cool, really empowering. And the people in the book are resources. So if you want to contact somebody in the book, send me an email. I’m email@example.com and I’ll connect you to them. They’re real people. They’re actively engaged in this journey of trying to figure out how to live with a mental health condition or love in somebody with a mental health condition. And so yeah, I got lucky, Becky. I had one idea and I just stayed with it.
Becky Coplen: That’s great. It’s like a lifelong a live project, not just one book for one moment. So that’s very exciting. Let’s talk a little bit about your role as a double board certified psychiatrist in both adult and child adolescent psychiatry, with also a forensic psychiatry fellowship. You have a lot of expertise in your role as the Chief Medical Officer at NAMI. How do you see your background and training contributing to NAMI’s mission of building better lives for those affected by mental illness?
Dr. Ken Duckworth: NAMI loves professionals, but we are not a staff of professionals. So people will say, Ken, bring all your doctors. There’s only one part-time doctor who helps me write. Bring all your professionals. Well, we probably have three people with a professional license. NAMI is an army of volunteers all across America. Almost 700 affiliates all across the country. You’re in Southeast Michigan. NAMI Metro Detroit is fantastic. NAMI Washtenaw County in Atlanta and Ann Arbor is fantastic. NAMI Lansing like the idea, anywhere you go in America, you can get free support and free education is the joy of NAMI. I serve a very specific role. I try to stay on top of the latest science. I’m interested in the new drugs that are coming out for guided psychotherapy that are psychedelics for PTSD. There’s a compound in process for cognition. In psychosis. We haven’t been able to touch cognition. So part of my job is to engage in the sharing of information with people. At NAMI, I run a monthly Ask the Expert series, and I just did one on Managing Your Money with Peggy Swarbrick, who has developed a whole curriculum in New Jersey, a whole peer-run curriculum on how to deal with repays, how to deal with Social Security. And if you go to nami.org/, Ask the expert. All of these are recorded. What’s the latest in bipolar disorder? How do you manage your money? What does it mean to become a peer specialist? What is 988 and what’s it doing for people? The three-digit suicide prevention lifeline. So what I try to do is have a strong portfolio of experts all across the nation sharing ideas and getting them out to people. So as the experts become a very popular. Part of how I get information out to people.
Becky Coplen: Definitely hearing the word collaboration from all kinds of people. So that is really exciting. And I did look up in Michigan how many locations and there were several. So that is really good to know. In regard to mental health services and support, it’s often a challenge for many individuals to receive that. How does NAMI advocate for improved access to services, treatment, and support, and what progress has made? You mentioned this a little bit, but maybe a little more specifically, how are we reaching the population that struggle, becoming connected with help?
Dr. Ken Duckworth: So I wrote a chapter called How to Find Help Minding the Many Gaps. And I start by saying the American mental health system is not a system. It’s fragmented, underfunded, disorganized, and ever changing. So if you can’t find help easily, it’s not about you. You are not a failure. It’s not that you don’t love your daughter enough. You are dealing with a complicated phenomena of multiple funding streams. Professionals who are underpaid frequently don’t take insurance because insurance underpays them. So the idea it’s complicated, right? I mean, think the idea is it’s complicated. So this action happens locally and nationally. So local. Nami, Nami Michigan, Nami Metro Detroit, they’re working the problem to figure out how to improve services locally. The national office just did the 988 leadership. So the three-digit crisis lifeline now that does not provide money for mobile crisis supports across the nation. That’s the next challenge. But those might happen locally. So Nami Washtenaw County would work on something if you don’t have it there. So this is the challenge, right? Because services are so complicated. And then of course you have health plans, right? Who are not state-run, who frequently underpay professionals. Right? I think that’s a whole nother problem. But we advocate for that.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: So we’re now advocating for the coordinated specialty care model, which is the early psychosis model. There are 300 such programs in America where people are treated like they have stage one cancer, not stage four cancer. They go to a separate program. There’s one in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, for example. I volunteered at one for five years. That money is in a state block grant, so no one can screw it up, right? Nobody who wants it likes to cut budgets can screw that up. And we just got in a code for the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, so that that can be billed as a special phenomenon. Does that make sense? So this early psychosis model and 988 are good examples of the federal Nami working the problem. But you in Michigan have very specific issues that are different than the people in the counties of California. In California, they do it by county. So the county has decision-making over their money. So then the local nominees have to advocate for what they want. So it’s not easy. I’m not going to say it’s easy. The work is never done. And it is very important. So it does have meaning but it is very uphill. I met a woman in the book, Denise Bailey, whose son was mistreated by a police officer, and she went on to advocate that every police officer in the state of Connecticut get trained in de-escalation strategies, called crisis intervention Training, or CIT, is a 40-hour curriculum invented by wait for it NAMI mommies and a police officer, Chief Sam Cochran in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: So the NAMI mommies are like, you guys keep arresting our sons. Like, don’t do that. Get them help! So Denise is a great example of how people will get better care in the state of Connecticut due to her experience. This is how things get done in America, and NAMI is a really cool organization. Becky and I encourage all the professionals to get to know about it, to refer your patients and families to it. It’s all free. There’s no charge for anything. I’ve had people say to me, social worker, I saw she referred me right to NAMI. It was fantastic. I talked to people who say I saw eight different professionals and nobody ever mentioned NAMI to me. And it just seems so unfortunate because the peer experience, whether you’re with people like you or families like you, doesn’t replace professional experience, but it does add to it.
Becky Coplen: Yeah, it’ll be an ongoing challenge for sure. I’ll say I do a lot of referrals here. Being at school, it’s a big part of being a school counselor and it’s often tricky. It takes a long time to help some families who maybe don’t have enough income to pay privately. Right. Would you add? We’ve talked about different stakeholders and who is a part of this group. Are there any other partnerships or alliances that NAMI partners with to advance its mission and the impact it has on the mental health community?
Dr. Ken Duckworth: I hang out with all the academic researchers in America, and in the back of the book, I had them answer all the questions that I’m asked. Most commonly, how do you deal with somebody who doesn’t want help? Do I really have to take these meds forever? Is a job a mental health intervention? What are my rights in housing and at work? So what I did is I went to those smartest people, all smarter than me to ask a very specific question. Is clozapine the drug of last resort? What is the role of DVT in helping people with borderline personality disorder? And I went to the person who invented it, developed it, or they sent me to their mentor-mentee relationship and they wrote a very comprehensive summary. So I feel very connected. We just had our national convention in Minnesota. Sophia Vinogradov talked about cognitive enhancement training for people with early psychosis. She’s the chairman of the University of Minnesota. Like, hey, we’re in Minnesota. Let’s check in on Sophia, see how she’s doing. What is her research doing? So he had a couple thousand people at the NAMI convention. And my job is to create conditions where the best researchers in the country connect to our members. And that’s also reflected in the book. The other thing we’re doing is we have a big partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: As you know, the drug discovery pipeline has been weak in the mental health space. There are few on the horizon, which is exciting. But in general, the drug pipeline has been weak. So NAMI helped to jumpstart a $100 million public-private partnership with the foundation of the National Institute of Health for Pre-competitive participation from nonprofits for profits and the National Institute of Mental Health to look at biomarkers for psychosis. We don’t have a blood pressure or a glucose level for psychosis, and this makes discovery hard. So we’re looking at if you look at a group of young people who converts to psychosis, what are their imaging cerebral spinal neurocognitive findings. Because until you have that, we’re still going to be struggling with what are the underlying causes of mental illness. And psychosis is a great example. How do you design drugs if you don’t know the underlying cause? So that’s the same challenge we face in Alzheimer’s disease. We have more hints in Alzheimer’s disease. Might be amyloid, might be tau, but they haven’t developed blockbuster drugs either. The brain is hard. So nobody’s engaged in research as well. So I’d say academic leaders and NIMH are our surprise partners. But mostly we’re an army of amazing volunteers who want to help and support people.
Becky Coplen: This episode is brought to you by mastersincounseling.org. If you’re considering enrolling in a master’s level counseling program to further your career, visit mastersincounseling.org to compare school options via our search tool that allows you to sort by specific degree types, tuition, our costs, online flexibility, and more. All right. I’ll just say personally, we have a family member, and, yeah, searching for the correct drugs and knowing what is the best available thing is a huge challenge. So thank you for talking about that. You talked about a lot of research and initiatives, especially during the book, and I think some now. Are there any other current priorities or initiatives that you didn’t touch on yet that are in the works?
Dr. Ken Duckworth: Well, I think building out 988 mobile crisis capacity. So 988 is a three-digit number. More than 5 million people have gotten help. The dropped call numbers are very low. Sophisticated people are taking these calls, referring people appropriately. It’s now available in Spanish. Things are happening on 988. But can you get a mobile crisis for a family member who’s acutely in distress? That’s not a police response. We shouldn’t be asking police to do mental health first aid. We should not be doing that. First responders should be mental health practitioners. And so this is the next challenge. So NAMI is working very actively to advocate for that with Congress and with the office of the president to make sure that there’s some federal support. A lot of it’s going to be local. So you might have it where you are in suburban Detroit, you might not have it in Muskegon. That’s all local. That’s going to be advocacy within the state of Michigan as well.
Becky Coplen: All right. Thank you. Let’s go back to your book. You are not alone. And there, as you mentioned, there’s so many true stories from real people and families. Is there one particularly impactful story that really stands out, that you really feel would give us a lot of hope and resilience with so many people dealing with mental illness?
Dr. Ken Duckworth: All right. So Kimberly Comber is an amazing story. This is a woman who was unhoused, living in her car, chronically suicidal. And she’s in her early 40s. And she’s decided while she’s in the hospital that she’s going to die by suicide. She just made a decision. She hasn’t told anyone. She just said this is it. And the social worker and this is a podcast for mental health clinicians, requires her to attend one last group meeting. And she’s like, oh, please, I could run these group meetings. The group meeting happens to be an in-our-own-voice Nami presentation. People share their experience, and the person who shows up is a 40-year-old woman who looks like her, has been unhoused, has been chronically suicidal, who’s reconstructed a whole life. And Kimberly’s okay, I think I’m not going to die tomorrow. I’m going to try and make a go of it. Kimberly now runs one of the Nami affiliates in Florida and has a fantastic life and hasn’t been in the hospital since she got involved with Nami. She also has an incredible story from about ten years prior. She was arrested and put into a correctional setting, and she had a manic episode and made some poor choices. So she gets arrested, she gets terrible care. She gets no care at all. She’s put into solitary. At one point when she’s leaving, the correctional officer drives her to the shelter and says, oh, Kimberly, I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: Her heart sinks. It’s like the worst thing you can say to somebody who’s been in a correctional setting for a mental illness, right? Kimberly is teaching crisis intervention training. Eight years later, and the guy is in the audience. And she says he was right. I did see him again, but maybe not in the way that he thought. And so the quote ends. It was pretty sweet. Ken, I’m not going to lie. So to me, what looks true at one point in time may not be true in the marathon. People do feel desperate and overwhelmed at times. One of the things the book shares is a lot of people had really rough patches. There’s a guy who became a superhero, Nami man, right? And he wears a superhero costume. He goes to hospitals, he talks to kids, and they say, do you kill bad guys? And he says, no, I crushed stigma. I’m Nami, man. I talk about my condition. And you’re getting help for yourself too. You’re a superhero too. That lad had three overdose attempts right in his 20s, and now he’s in his 40s. And he’s become a larger-than-life superhero, right? And he’s like, mental illness doesn’t have a superhero. We need one. And he, of course, is fostering NAMI Woman, NAMI Dog, NAMI Sibling, the whole thing. But it’s just an example. You look at people in their 20s, for example, who are very desperate. You can stay with this if you can.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: Hang in there. Learning, time, love, treatment, peer support. You might find something. I wrote a chapter called The Elements of Recovery for People and How People Got Going, and then it’s a different chapter called The Themes of Their Recovery. So how did people, over time, integrate this into their life and their identity? So to me, the book, I learned so much from people. Becky, I was never taught once as a psychiatrist what dogs meant to people. Not once. And I interviewed people and three people talked about their dogs. One man had bipolar disorder and the dog regulated his schedule. Dog gets up, he gets up. Dog needs to be fed, eats dog needs to run. He goes outside. Dog takes a nap. He takes a nap. You’re like, this guy is bipolar disorder. I’m not saying throw out your meds. I’m saying I was never taught that a dog could be an agent of recovery. Another woman had been very sexually assaulted in the Coast Guard, and she had a service dog who could perceive her anxiety and keep males away from her. So if she was in a room with a guy that she didn’t feel comfortable with, the dog would get closer to the guy. And farther from him, creating more space between Nadine and the person. So I never learned that. I never learned about post-traumatic stress and service dogs as a double-board certified psychiatrist. Right? Presumably from the top of the academic mountain. And I learned from amazing people.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: I want to emphasize that, but nobody was studying what actually helps real people, how becoming a peer is the singular event in some people’s lives, how finding one loving relationship makes all the difference. Reconnecting with your kids, getting your kids back from social services, whatever it is, these were the things that people hung on to to make a life. So it was really the most fun project I could imagine. Becky. It exceeded my expectations. I only stopped at 130 people because I ran out of time. I was on a deadline on the book tour. People were like, hey, I’d like to be in your next book. I’d like to share my story. So I did get one thing right, Becky, is silence and isolation. The idea that a doctor writes a book and say, everybody in this book is a composite person to protect their privacy. That’s one truth. Another truth is that some people want to share what they’ve learned, to make meaning of their pain, turn their pain into purpose, and to help another person. And I had met so many of them over the years at NAMI. One of the publishers who bid on the book is like, you can’t get people to use their names. And I’m like, oh, you were right. A decade ago, but you’re not right anymore. The world has changed. And I’m not saying if it’s famous people, if it’s not these efforts if it’s your podcast. Becky, I can’t tell you what the elements are, but mental health has a different kind of frame now than it used to.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: And I think Covid did change the equation because so many of us know someone or experienced ourselves mental health conditions. So. Naomi’s first book is called You Are Not Alone, and all I can say is the reception has been fantastic. It’s exceeded my wildest dreams. And so if you secretly have an idea for a book, don’t give up on it because it took me 15 years. I want to emphasize that 15 years I go back to the bookstore. I’m like nobody’s astro people yet. I forget all about it. I take my kids to their softball game or whatever. Then I go back to the bookstore three years later. Nobody’s written this book, and the time was going by. I had black hair when I started this. I have gray hair now. I’m like, where is this book where real people share what they have learned? So that was the joy of the whole process. How did families communicate with each other? My family never figured that out. I had a loving family and I was never mistreated by my dad, who became very psychotic. But we never talked about it, never talked about it. And so one of my favorite chapters is called Family Communication How Families Figured Out How to problem Solve and have Conversations about it. Really, it seems so ordinary, but so many families suffer in silence.
Becky Coplen: So many things that resonate there, especially the dog. We have our own dog that we love and it is funny how I could see it helping people set a pattern. And I love the shift in the that people are willing to share. I think that’s the coolest thing that I’ve heard from you today, is how they shared with you for the book, and then they will let people contact them to help them as well.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: And I want to emphasize, don’t go on channel five and tell your story if you’re not ready. Before people got into the book, I’d have a phone call with them beforehand and I’d say, do you understand that you’re using your full name and where you’re from? You’re George Kaufman from Santa Barbara, California. I want to emphasize you’re a real person. It’s not some composite fake name so that the doctor is the person with all the information. The truth is, we’ve all learned something along the way. I’m sure as a practitioner, you’ve learned things that you didn’t know before you started. And I just wanted to undercover the wisdom of real people. So again, I don’t encourage everybody to people say, oh my gosh, I have to use my name. And I said nine times in the email when I would ask for volunteers at NAMI Wisconsin or NAMI Georgia or in some other setting, you have to use your name. It’s a completely different book. The doctor doesn’t have all the answers. The answers are in all of us, right? It’s a radical book and people say, oh my gosh, I have to use my name. I’m not ready to be out. And I said, well, that’s great. That’s fantastic. I’m so glad we had this conversation because I don’t want you to be out. And people would call me and say, my son John, schizophrenia. And I want to talk about it as his mom. How we’ve learned to communicate. So what I encourage you to is talk to John and your husband over dinner and make a decision together as a family, whether you want to be in the book or not.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: And it’s okay if you don’t. I want to emphasize this plane is going to leave. I’m going to have more than 100 seats filled. We’re good. Like, I was very confident Alice and John Henry are this loving couple, a mother and son who figured out how to work the problem of living with schizophrenia, having family communication and analysis case, even planning for John after she departs this earth. How to set up a living trust for him. These are things that I never saw in a book before, where a real family from Connecticut, lovely human beings are working. The problem John talks about how music is a kind of cognitive training for him because of course, cognitive enhancement therapy and all those practices are great. Love them. And he said, I’ve done that and I like them. But music is really my cognitive enhancement strategy here I am living with schizophrenia and everybody says my cognition shouldn’t be too good. But watch, I’m a pretty good musician. And then he plays music, right? So people are amazing. That’s what I hoped for in this book. So every single person who’s in the book has signed a consent form, but more importantly, has reviewed the quotes and any person who is unnamed. Right. So an ex-husband, we never name the ex-husband. We never say any because they never they weren’t involved.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: But usually I’m not focused on the other people I’m focused on. What did you learn? What did your son learn? How did the two of you learn to talk? So I pretty much cut out all the third-party people, pretty much. And anybody who didn’t sign a consent form wasn’t going to say anything about them, really, or their names. So that was the goal of the book, and everybody in the book is into it. They all help promote the book. So I have 130 kind of sales agents in a way, right? All across the nation, 38 different states. And so in Hawaii, Kumi is like, hey, it sounds like you could use this book. So think this is how you do something in the book. Space is you have a platform now is the largest mental health group in the country. And you provide a book that directly speaks to them. That was the goal. That was really the goal. And it’s been a great privilege to have it be successful and to be a one-hit wonder is really fun. There is another book coming, Becky, but I’m delighted to report that I’m not writing it. I’m good. I’m really good. That was a very long year of 12-hour days and constantly worrying about the deadline and the page numbers. So my associate, Christine Crawford, is a young child and adolescent psychiatrist. She’s writing that you are not alone a parent’s guide. So she’ll be interviewing parents and children and developmental specialists.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: And if your child looks like they’re on the autistic spectrum, what does that look like? That book will be out in September of 2024. So my books a year old. My yearbook is a year. It was out in September of 2022. So the look on my wife’s face when I told her I wasn’t writing another book was like the day when Michigan beats Ohio State. It’s like a fantastic, full-bodied joy. Because seriously, when you’re in a project like this, you can’t think or talk about anything else. And I was as guilty of that as anyone. Kelly would say, hey, could we talk about anything besides the people in your book? And I said, no, but I can watch Netflix and be quiet. Like, but if I’m going to talk like I have to discuss this experience, I’ve met so many amazing people. What they have learned. How do you get off of OxyContin? I interviewed a young woman who figured it out. Like, it’s amazing. We have this scourge of overdose addiction in America. And she figured it out. And you should learn from her. She’s a real person. She’s got a real name and amazing young woman. So a great adventure. Becky. So tell me a little bit about the podcast. You’re appealing to counselors and professionals, and so is the lived experience. The first-person voice. Is this the first time you’ve had this chat, or do you have people on who have lived experience, family members who’ve lived with things?
Becky Coplen: Yeah, a little of both. A year ago it was running and then it disbanded for a bit and then it restarted this summer. So the biggest idea is trying to help people who are considering going into the field and hearing all angles. So there’s people that we’ve talked to who have. How do you set up your websites and your billing? There’s people who worked with middle schoolers in Covid, and they’re playing Dungeons and Dragons and doing therapy that way. There’s therapists, counselors, social workers, coaches, doctors, authors. There’s a lot of different people, but all angles of it. So I really.
Dr. Ken Duckworth: Want to thank everybody for engaging in this work. This work isn’t easy. You’re usually not overpaid. The demand is incredibly high. Covid has really changed the whole frame around mental health, so demand is incredibly high. You’ll never have to worry about having work. Or if you’re an advocate, you’ll never have to worry on things to fight for it.
Becky Coplen: You’ve been listening to the Mastering Counseling podcast by mastersincounseling.org. Join us again next episode as we explore what it takes to be a business success in the counseling industry.